Tips for Students Attending Zoom University

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle will return to fully online on Nov. 23, which means students will need to adapt to a new change in their education. With some UMPI classes already online or hybrid, students will have a head start on transitioning to fully online. Although online learning through Zoom is very flexible and easy-to-use, many students feel they learn best in an environment of in-person classes. 

Tips for students as they transition to online learning.

     The switch to fully online classes this semester plays a huge role in students’ social lives and their mental health. Students will be taking their classes from home and in their bedrooms, which is a much different experience from in a classroom. There are many tips and tricks students can follow to stay focused during these last weeks of the fall semester. 

     Students have been using Zoom for many months now, so they should be getting used to the application. Zoom is very accessible and easy-to-use, so students are now more confident using it. Students should know how to work their camera and mute button. It is always important to arrive on Zoom a couple of minutes before class time. When their camera is on, students should have good lighting and pay attention to their body positioning. It can be difficult to speak on Zoom, so patience is key during participation and conversations with one another. 

     Another tip for students as they switch to online learning is to keep a schedule and stay organized. It is very easy to lose track of time when working on a computer, so making a schedule or to-do list could be helpful. Many students use academic planners to map out their days. Something as simple as Post-it® notes or a sheet of paper can do the job. It is also important to take breaks from your computer screen. Looking at a digital computer screen can be mentally exhausting and physically painful on your eyes. Walking away from your screen is beneficial when you spend long hours on your computer. Take breaks from your computer screen to grab a snack or take a walk during the day. 

     “I like to make lists of everything I have due each week. I think the most important thing with online school is setting aside time to complete schoolwork,” UMPI sophomore, Emily Blauvet, said. “It’s important to have good communication with your professors and stay on top of your work. I just hope for the best!”

     Having a comfortable and pleasant environment is crucial to college students’ educational experience. It is important to find a comfortable workspace to take classes and complete homework in. Students need to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed in their space, whether that is a bedroom or office. Having a cozy chair and a proper desk is something all students should have. 

     When students take classes on Zoom, it can be very easy to become distracted by their surroundings. They are no longer in a learning environment inside a classroom. They are no longer face-to-face with their classmates, so it is easy to get distracted from their classes on Zoom. Students can take away distractions around them by turning off their phones or other electronic devices. Sometimes when classes have more students, it can be easier to lose focus. 

     Students also should take care of their bodies and minds during these last weeks of classes. Having good physical and mental health will benefit students and their academics. Students should be getting enough sleep, even if that means taking naps during the day. They should be drinking plenty of water, not just coffee in the morning. Students can also incorporate exercise and a healthy diet into their routine. Taking these steps will allow them to have positive mental and physical health during the rest of the fall semester.  

     “It’s going to be hard going fully online, but I plan on my making a schedule every day to keep me organized. If I stick to my schedule, it is easier for me to adapt to change,” UMPI senior, Marissa Valdivia Reagle, said. “Last semester when we went online, I had to move a desk into my room. I wanted it to be more of a school environment in my room.”

     All of these steps will benefit students in one way of another. Taking classes and completing an education at home is a unique experience. It is definitely not easy. Even real-world professionals are struggling with working remotely and at home. As students travel back home for the holidays, please remember to make your health a number one priority. Having good grades is not as important as taking care of yourself.  Finish the semester and year off strongly because we all need a good break for the holidays. 

 

COVID-19 in the North Pole

  This year has been difficult for everyone, including Christmastime’s very own, Santa Claus. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected hundreds of areas worldwide and even places such as the North Pole. Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves at the North Pole have had to adapt to COVID-19 regulations. With Santa’s older age and weight, he is at high risk for Coronavirus, so he has to be extra safe. Yet even in the face of a global pandemic, Santa is still preparing to deliver millions of presents on Christmas Eve so that children around the world can have a good holiday. 

     People may have seen their local “Santa Claus” in shopping malls or Christmas tree farms around the country. The real Father Christmas has been preparing for months on end at the North Pole with his elves. When COVID-19 took over the world earlier this year, the North Pole was no exception. The elves in the North Pole do not travel much and Santa only journeys outside the area if he has an important meeting. Although there haven’t been any positive COVID-19 cases at the Pole, Santa has all the residents taking precautions as they make toys for Christmastime. 

Be like Santa Claus and wear a mask!

     Santa’s Workshop and everyone at the North Pole have been following CDC guidelines. Santa’s elves have been socially distancing and staying six feet apart in the workshop. Due to this regulation, a large number of elves cannot work in the same space, because of the problems with social distancing. The elves can no longer build toys in large groups at the workshop, so they have been working longer hours. These elves are continuing to stay positive, despite the change in their working environment. Their main goal is to make children happy on Christmas Day. 

     “It has been a very different year at the North Pole. We still drink plenty of hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols, but it hasn’t been the same. Santa has done a great job cheering us up,” Buddy, a North Pole elf, said. “We have been working longer hours, but we do not mind because our ultimate goal is for every child to have a wonderful Christmas. We want to do everything we can to cheer them up from this terrible year.”

     Everyone in the North Pole has been wearing masks: Christmas themed ones, of course. Every elf working on toys has been using hand sanitizer and wet wipes. Although elves have had to follow all of these regulations, they are still very energetic and excited for Christmas, as usual. 

     Santa recognizes that families around the world, especially in the U.S., may be struggling financially. He wants to do as much as he can for these families. Santa plans on delivering to all children across the world who are deserving. Many individuals died from the virus this year. People also lost their jobs throughout this year, so they were unable to provide for their children. With COVID-19 playing a huge role in the economy and health of the United States’ population, Santa and Mrs. Claus want to make this Christmas a special one for families in need. 

     “When this virus hit, we didn’t know what to do. We could see that the elves were losing some of their Christmas spirit and that the reindeer were upset,” Mrs. Claus said. “Nick has been working endlessly to make everyone feel safe and I couldn’t be prouder of how he has dealt with everything.” 

     Christmas is a year-round event at the North Pole and when COVID-19 surprised the world, Santa acted quickly. The North Pole was able to continue its progress in the workshop, while following CDC regulations. There haven’t been any parties or gatherings this year at the North Pole, but the elves have continued to show Christmas spirit. Santa will be delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, like any other year. His sleigh will be sanitized and ready to go for his long journey delivering gifts. Despite this eventful year, Santa is doing everything he can to make this holiday season a memorable one for millions of families in the world. 

Honoring the Life of John Haley

John Haley, the kind and loving teacher at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, died on Sept. 10, 2020. Ever since, the campus has been celebrating his life. As an adjunct teacher and director of University of Experience at UMPI, John was a loved and admired person on campus and in the community.

Remembering John Haley.

Born in Aroostook County, John received his bachelor’s degree from Aroostook State Teachers college, which is now UMPI. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono.
Although he was a seed farmer for 30 years, John truly found his passion as a teacher. He was a mentor and instructor at UMPI for 15 years, where he influenced and inspired others during his time. His impact on the people around him was clear on Sept. 18 during a campus memorial service.

In conjunction with UMPI’s Homecoming Spirit Week and Memories Day, people gathered in front of South Hall for the event. During this service, a select number of students, faculty and staff members gathered for a ceremonial tree planting. President Ray Rice and Business Professor Kim Jones shared some brief words about John during the service, as did others. Kim announced that the Excellence Every Day award, which is given each year to an employee who embodies the university’s service excellence
promise, will be renamed the John Haley Service Excellence Award. Due to COVID-19, only a set number of people were allowed to attend. The individuals who did could see firsthand how much John meant to those around him.

“If I had to describe him in one word, it would be caring,” UMPI senior Roni Shaw said. “He was the type of professor to always keep class light and fun. Everyone was just happy with him around. He was a great man.”

During the ceremony, attendees were able to write a note about John on a small paper owl ornament and tie it to the freshly planted tree. People could also write a note on a luminary bag. The luminaries were placed along the walkway from Folsom and Pullen Hall to the Campus Center and lighted that night. All of the notes and sentiments were collected afterwards, so they could be shared during UMPI’s commencement ceremony in the spring.

“He was the kind of professor who helped us outside of the classroom. He could tell if his students were having a bad day, and he would be the first to try and make everyone else feel better,” UMPI senior Marissa Valdivia Reagle said. “As my English professor, he helped us relate our schoolwork to our personal lives. He always made an effort to talk to us about our lives and how we were doing.”

John Haley’s life continues to be celebrated around campus as the semester goes on. His spirit at UMPI was strong and anyone whom John affected was devastated by the news. His death reminds us of the importance of cherishing the people in our lives, because we do not know the last time we will see them. John was known as selfless and giving person. Although his physical journey is over, students, faculty and staff members are continuing to embrace his life.

Making the Best of 2020

Hello everyone, Saint and Dusty here! We hope everyone is doing well during these difficult times. It has been a strange semester, but we are happy to be back on campus with Mummy. Although we cannot see students’ faces, we still can recognize their smells. Mummy’s
classes are not in her usual spot, so we get to travel down the hall. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long days, but we get to see lots of students throughout the day.

Saint and Dusty cuddle up for PCJ 396 on Tuesday mornings.

When students come to class, they take these wet wipes from the front of the class and use them on their desks. It is very stinky, but we are getting used to it. During class time, Dusty and I lie on our cozy bed and enjoy class. We have noticed that students are spread out and do
not sit next to each other like they used to. Mummy only takes us to campus a couple days out of the week, so we try to make the best of it.

With all these changes on campus, we are staying positive for Mummy and her students. We like to greet students, especially the ones in the morning. We cannot see their faces, but we know they are smiling. This semester has been like no other, but it is our job to be there for Mummy. We are ready for whatever the rest of this year has in store for us!

A Spooky Season in a Spooky Year

Once October comes around, anybody who loves horror or getting to be someone else for the day is excited for Halloween. This year will not be the same as in the past. With the Coronavirus taking the world by storm, many holidays and gatherings have been put on pause or canceled. In many communities, trick-or-treating and Halloween gatherings will not be happening. While adapting to the pandemic, families across the country are going to have to start new traditions this Halloween.

Halloween during a pandemic might be tricky.

This year has been stressful for everyone, including children. They have had in-person school canceled, recreational sports canceled, and they have been told not to visit their grandparents because it could kill them. They have endured extreme isolation, which could potentially have an effect on their
social skills as they grow up. Like everyone else, they have had a rough year.

Other holidays this year have already been canceled. Families were forced to spend Easter and the Fourth of July at home. Trick-or-treating is also going to be very unusual this year and children will once again have to suffer the consequences.

When the end of October comes around, children usually look forward to trick-or-treating by dressing up, but it is much different this year.

“Some Halloween traditions my family and I have is decorating the inside and outside of our house. My mom makes some delicious food, and we watch movies. It must be difficult for children this year,
since they won’t be able to do those normal Halloween traditions,” UMPI sophomore Halle Garner said.

State officials around the country are advising parents and their children to avoid trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Halloween is a special day that gives children many long-lasting memories that they
will bring with them into adulthood. This year’s Halloween is not only disappointing but stressful for children, especially since they will be missing out on experiences all people should have during their
childhood.

“I personally I think not having trick-or-treating is a smart idea because there is a pandemic going on. Going from door-to-door is not the safest, especially for children,” UMPI senior Bethany McAvoy said. “I have seen a lot of stuff online where people can still dress up at home and make their own fun.”

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention describes trick-or-treating as “high risk activity” because of the traveling done by children from house to house. Although surfaces such as candy wrappers aren’t a significant source of spread for COVID-19, trick-or-treating can still be done safely. Smaller communities across the country are still planning trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods as long as it is done in a safe manner.

Although this holiday will be different, there are many things that families can still do to make the best out of their spooky season. Trick-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition, but there are many other ways children can celebrate the holiday safely in a world of COVID-19.

There are a variety of ways families and their children can create new traditions in 2020. Pumpkin carving at home is fun Halloween activity, which is low risk and suggested by the CDC. A costume contest at home and through Zoom or Facetime with friends is a perfect way to show off your costume. Families can make Halloween treats and baked goods from home, which will satisfy those sweet tooth cravings. Decorating the inside and outside of your house with scary decorations could lead to a
neighborhood drive-through event. Another option is to turn down the lights and have a movie night with your family.

All of these options are great substitutes for trick-or-treating this Halloween season. Despite not being able to celebrate Halloween as usual, it is important that families are still spending the holiday together and safely. It has been a difficult year for children and their families, but they have made it this far. Adapting to this pandemic is not easy and yet families across the country are succeeding. Halloween in 2020 is going to be different, but something that this year has taught people is that we are up for a challenge.

UMPI: 2019 Year in Review

2019 was a special year for the University of Maine at Presque Isle as lots of success and memories were made on campus with students, staff, faculty and community members. Students excelled in the classroom, resulting in a great deal of recognition for the university. UMPI gave back to its local and global community. Comedians, musicians and more visited campus during the year, creating many memories that people would not forget. Select students around campus not only did well with their academics, but succeeded with extracurriculars. UMPI’s athletic teams also had an exciting year during their first season competing in the North Atlantic Conference. Through these accomplishments and milestones, UMPI definitely had a year to remember.

The year started strong with UMPI’s Medical Laboratory Technology program receiving a $200,000 training center on Jan. 10 in Pullen Hall. The men’s basketball team made history with the university’s first ever appearance in a NAC playoff game. Griffin Guerrette was named NAC Rookie of the Year and Shyquinn Dix was named 1st Team All-Conference during the 2018-2019 season. Justin Rupple hosted UMPI’s first variety show, which included entertainment from students, faculty and community members. This event proved so memorable that UMPI decided to host another variety show this semester.

The university held Planet Head Day, a cancer fundraiser, in Wieden Hall on March 16. Guest speaker Shay Stewart-Bouley spoke on March 26 at a campus diversity dialogue discussing racism. Faculty member Michelle Mishaan exhibited her art in the Reed Gallery with her painted landscapes of Aroostook County. UMPI celebrated the 18 annual University Day on April 10 with a variety of student presentations. Star basketball player Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” following his life-changing experience before UMPI. On April 5 “Free Hugs” motivational speaker, Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., gave students a night to remember during his discussion. The Cinemaniacs Film Club presented screenings of their original film “The 9th Reward.”

“The 9th Reward was the first full film that I ever made. It was very successful on campus, but I was also really proud of the accomplishment because the movie was a team effort. Everybody worked really hard to make it happen,” producer of the film, Tiffany Smith, said. “2019 was a big year, because I co-produced The 9th Reward and a documentary on the History of UMPI. It was also the year that my videography business really took off.”

The Art Club held the 4 Annual Trash to Fashion Show on April 22, creating innovative fashion pieces from recycled goods. The highly anticipated Zillman Family Greenhouse was welcomed to campus during the groundbreaking ceremony on April 25. The greenhouse will benefit the agriculture science program on campus. The women’s softball team competed in the NAC conference tournament, finishing third. Later in the month, former Owl softball player, Alissa Edwards, was hired as head coach for the program. Aaron Marston was officially hired as the head women’s soccer coach and Shea Cushman took over UMPI’s Nordic ski program.

The university held its 110 Commencement ceremony on May 11, with 112 students participating. Bringing in the new academic year, UMPI announced a new Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree starting in the fall of 2019. Cross Country coach Christopher Smith was honored for his 30 plus years of service with the athletics department. UMPI was recognized as one of the top 5 Most Innovative Schools for Regional Colleges in the North, along with four other top rankings in the “U.S. News and World Report 2020 Best Colleges” list.

Homecoming 2019 was a success as usual, filled with entertainment and fireworks for students and community members. The end of the year was especially bright when news came that UMPI had won one of the largest grants in university history. The U.S. Department of Education’s announced that the University was selected for a 2019 Title III Strengthening Institutions Program grant worth nearly $2.25 million over a five-year cycle. The 8 Annual Purple Pinkie event was held on campus and through Aroostook County, raising over $3,000 for efforts to eradicate polio around the world. UMPI’s History Club established the Little Free Library on Nov. 22 in the Owl’s Nest, a large bookcase used for book exchanges with people on campus and around the community. The club’s president and well-known student on campus, Evan Zarkadas, not only founded the library, but also had other accomplishments through the year.

“The Free Little Library was an idea that I had over the summer and a project that I thought would be a great addition to this campus. I was following a few social media pages from the Free Little Library foundation and the idea was very appealing to me, and I was admitting the incredible work they do, so I decided to establish one here on campus,” Evan Zarkadas said. “One word that would describe my 2019 is Inspirational. From all of these experiences, awards, projects, learning curves, etc. I have become even more inspired to keep moving forwards, gain as much experience and enjoy life even more and keep doing great things, while at the same time give back to my community, family and friends.”

UMPI finished out the year strong with another national ranking. The university was recognized in “Washington Monthly” magazine for 2019 college rankings, earning spots in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges: Northeast and Top 50 Best Bang for the Buck: Northeast.

Through student success, university awards, guest speakers and more, 2019 was one of the university’s strongest years. Many memories were made during the year that will be carried into 2020 as UMPI hopes to have an even better year as it continues to grow as an institution. The university’s success in 2019 was represented by individuals across the county, nation and world who embody what it means to be an UMPI Owl.

A Year to Remember for UMPI in 2019.

Shyquinn Dix Scores His 1,000 Point as an Owl

 

 

UMPI’s men_s basketball team pose for a picture on Jan. 28.

University of Maine at Presque Isle star basketball player Shyquinn Dix collected his 1,000 point in his college career on Jan. 28 against Unity College. Hundreds gathered in Wieden gymnasium to watch the team and wait for Dix to hit the milestone, which was only 7 points away.

The Owls started strong, immediately pushing past Unity. Within minutes of the game, Dix made a 3-pointer. Moments later, he scored a 2-point jumper. The crowd grew quiet, waiting for the Owl’s next possession. After a turnover from Unity, the ball fell into Dix’s hands. Dix made his way down the court, with an easy layup, scoring his 1,000 point as a collegiate basketball player. The crowd exploded, giving Dix a minute standing ovation. UMPI coaches and the entire team ran onto the court to celebrate with Dix and his accomplishment.

“Shy is a person that in his last couple years here at UMPI, has been very successful on and off the court in a lot that he has done and has had a lot of praise (well deserved) around UMPI. He is a tough kid, and any negative criticism he just ignores or even better uses it as fuel. But when it comes to constructive criticism, he wants it and needs it,” UMPI Assistant Basketball Coach Mark Knight said. “I am very proud of what he has accomplished so far and will be even more proud when I see what he will accomplish throughout the rest of his life.”

Dix, a junior from Stamford, Conn., not only accomplished greatness on the court, but has overcome much bigger obstacles throughout his life. In March of 2019, Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS News “60 Minutes.” The special covered a German-style prison at a Connecticut maximum security prison, which Dix participated in after he was sentenced to four years of prison for being a part of a check-fraud scheme. Dix was a part of the T.R.U.E. program, which is a prison program that focuses on individual reform for 18-25-year-old offenders, providing them with older inmate mentors, life-skills classes and much more positive interaction with correctional officers.

After success in the program, Dix bonded with a correctional officer, James Vassar, who helped him connect with UMPI Head Basketball Coach Dan Kane. After months of communication and finally meeting Dix, Kane welcomed him to the UMPI basketball program. His addition to the team not only helped Dix himself, but also the team, as Dix led them to the North Atlantic Conference tournament for the first time in program history during the 2018-2019 season.

“Shy and I have been through quite a bit in the short time period that we have known each other. I would say it is a relationship that is built on mutual respect and trust and wanting the best for Shy’s future,” Dan Kane said. “I am very proud of the hard work Shy has put in on the court, in the classroom and in his personal life. I think Shy would admit as any of us would, there is still room to grow, but seeing him strive to be the best father, son, sibling, friend, teammate and basketball player he can be does make me very proud and with all my players and all the student-athletes at UMPI, that is what motivates me to come to work every day.”

Partly through Shyquinn Dix’s leadership and talent, the Owls have once again reached the North Atlantic Conference tournament during the end of their season.

Shopping for Christmas Gifts Without Breaking Your Budget

 

Shopping for Christmas gifts does not have to break your budget this year.

One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is giving to those you love. Everyone would like to buy the most expensive gifts for their family and friends, but it can be too expensive for the average person. There are alternatives for gift giving during the holidays, without breaking your budget. A good gift does not always have to be about the number on the price tag. There is a good chance that your friend will enjoy a gift with more sentimental value than an expensive gift. Gift giving does not always have to be stressful. There are many methods and strategies that you can follow this holiday season. If you follow these next steps and ideas, you could end up saving money and possibly have fun while doing it.

There are some simple methods that can be helpful to shoppers before they even hit the stores. Budgeting, shopping early and combining your shopping can be beneficial. Before you shop, budget your money and set a plan for your purchases so that you know exactly what you will be spending. Go Christmas shopping before everyone else. Get your shopping done early so that you can sit back and relax during December. Instead of shopping at multiple places, make all your purchases in one place so that you can save the money toward store taxes and car gas.

“If I am on a budget when I am Christmas shopping, I like to make as many gifts as I can because I feel like it is more meaningful when you put your time into the gift,” UMPI freshman Emily Blauvet said. “I love shopping for my friends and family. That is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love watching my loved ones open gifts that I get them. I think Christmas is being with your family and friends and celebrating being together because people often overlook what and who they have in their life.”

Electronics and clothes can be great gifts, but inexpensive items can also show someone how much you care. Handwritten notes or customizable items can be great gifts. Shopping at discount stores such as Marden’s or the Dollar Tree can help. Saving money could also mean buying more gifts for the people who otherwise would not make the list.

The Dollar Tree is a perfect place to get smaller items that can be brought together. The store sells candy, decorations, winter gloves, mugs and more. It also sells Christmas cards and crafts that can be signed or customized to create a sentimental feel. A gift is a gift, it does not matter the size. By giving gifts to people, you are telling them how much you care, despite the size of the gift.

Christmas is about the time you share with family and friends. Exchanging gifts is just another small aspect of the day. Shopping for gifts and receiving them is fun, although there is much more to the day than what is under the tree.

“I love shopping for my friends and family for Christmas. I’m not a big fan of shopping, but I like to think of the smile my friends and family will have when they open their gifts,” UMPI freshman Halle Garner said. “Christmas is all about being with your family. It doesn’t matter what you eat or what presents you get, as long as the holidays are spent with loved ones–period.”

The holiday season is about spending time with the ones you love. Gift-giving is just another aspect to Christmas that everyone cherishes. While shopping for gifts can be exciting, it is important to remember the people whom you spend Christmas with. After all, giving is a much better feeling than receiving.

Presque Isle Loop Brings Much-Needed Transportation to the City

 

Don Sawyer assists Dr. J off the Presque Isle Loop.

The city of Presque Isle has a new form of transportation available to its residents. The Presque Isle Loop, an innovative metro-style bus, is now traveling through the city, making it the first fixed bus route in Presque Isle. The Loop has 16 stops through town and is affordable for anyone looking for a ride. The bus, which started on Oct. 15, was formed by the Going Places Network in collaboration between multiple agencies and organizations throughout Aroostook County.

The bus is operated by the Aroostook Regional Transportation System and it seats up to 36 passengers. The bus is also accessible to all who may have a disability. The bus features free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and spacious seats.

The bus will give access to a variety of Presque Isle residents who may need transportation. From college students to the elderly, the bus will give new opportunities to people who did not have it before. Many students at UMPI or NMCC do not have cars or a means of transportation. The Presque Loop is a new resource for them. Older citizens of the city who can not drive on their own will now be able to travel. People who work around town will now be able to use the bus. If people without a car would like to make a trip to Walmart, they can now do that through the bus.

Don Sawyer, a bus driver for the Loop, spoke about its recent success. “On a good day, we get about 25 people,” Sawyer said. “I used to drive buses for the schools. This is a lot better than having 50 screaming kids behind you,” Sawyer laughed. The most popular stop for the Loop is Walmart. He also mentioned that a stop at Walmart gives people more than an hour to shop before the bus comes back, which is plenty of time to get what you need.

The first two weeks of the Presque Isle Loop in October were free to all riders. Since then, ticket prices are $1.75 for one way and $3.50 for a roundtrip. Children under the age of 5 ride the bus for free with a parent or guardian. Discounted fares are available to people ages 18 years and under or 60 years and older. Military Veterans and their spouses with ID will be offered a discount as well as people with mobility disabilities. Passengers will also have the option to purchase a GoPass with unlimited rides. This pass can either consist of a week for $18 or a month for $72.

The start of the Presque Isle Loop begins at UMPI by the Campus Center circle, then heading to the Plaza on Main Street near Big Cheese Pizza. The next stops are at Academy Street, the Presque Isle Nursing Home and Griffin Street. The bus makes several more stops through town including the Aroostook Centre Mall, Walmart, the Micmac Health Center, NMCC and more. On average, the bus stops at each location every 70 minutes.

UMPI professor Jacqui Lowman, a wheelchair user, had no trouble getting on the bus. “I thought it was amazing. I was so impressed. I thought the bus would be nice, but I had no idea that is would be that nice. It was very warm, and it had a great view out the window,” Lowman said. “There are many people who need to go to appointments or need to get to work and they do not have a vehicle. We’ve needed this for a long time. It is very affordable, and I think it is just going to keep building.”

The Presque Isle Loop has been a success since its opening in October and it is bound to continue its growth. This bus allows the city of Presque Isle to become more innovative and helpful to its citizens. It gives its community members a means of transportation in a city that has never had it before. The bus is another example of the steps Presque Isle is taking to improve the lives of its citizens. When people ride the Loop, they are not only helping themselves, but also their city. The Loop gives citizens a safe and convenient ride across town or wherever they may need to go in the future.

 

 

Good Times at the Snowy Owl Marketplace

 

People shop in Gentile Hall during the Snowy Owl Marketplace.

On Sept. 28, the University of Maine at Presque Isle hosted the Snowy Owl Marketplace as part of its Homecoming Weekend. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gentile Hall was filled with a variety of vendors and tables. Students and community members packed the gym in order to see what they could get their hands on during that Saturday.

Many university clubs and sport teams participated in the event, hoping to raise money for their program or organizations. The International Students club sold potatoes and noodles. The Bio-Med Club sold cookies. The History Club sold a variety of coffees. The Criminal Justice Club had lots of success by selling Krispy Kreme Donuts. University Times sold fruit cups, drinks and macaroni and cheese. The baseball team ran a concession stand, selling popcorn, candy, hotdogs, drinks and more. The softball team sold baked goods and coffee.

A diverse assortment of vendors from outside of campus also attended. Many arts and crafts tables were out on display. Another booth had soaps, lotions and bath bombs for sale. Many vendors had autumn and Halloween decorations. Jewelry, blankets and even flavored marshmallows were also sold during the marketplace.

Danielle Pelkey and Laurie Boucher, both employees in the UMPI student financial services office, ran a vendor booth at the marketplace. The pair sold customized crafts and gifts. “I think the Snowy Owl Marketplace went really well. There was a lot of participation from local crafters, artisans, vendors and student organizations/clubs. There’s already brainstorming taking place for next year to make it even better. It was nice having it located at Gentile Hall where the weather didn’t affect the set up and more individuals were able to take part in,” Danielle Pelkey said. “We will definitely be participating again in the future. It was a great way to showcase our homemade and customized items for upcoming holidays.”

The year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace was different from the others held in the previous years. In past years, the marketplace was called the block party. The term Snowy Owl Marketplace is now its new and improved name. The past events were also always held outside at the tennis courts. Due to the weather, Homecoming organizers decided to change the location. A Car Show was held outside of Gentile, which brought in some visitors to the event. UMPI’s men’s and women’s soccer teams also competed in games during the time of the marketplace, bringing in more people.

“I had a great time. I really enjoyed coming out with friends and looking at arts and crafts, jewelry, artwork and homemade baked goods vendors had to offer. It also was very affordable, which gave me a lot to choose from. Even with being indoors, it didn’t take away from the whole marketplace feel. Going to the Snowy Owl Marketplace is something I definitely would do again,” UMPI sophomore Savannah Borland said.

This year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace brought hundreds of UMPI students, staff and community members together for a special day that will be looked forward to during next year’s Homecoming weekend.